Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists Paperback – 11 Dec 1997
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Another handsome hard-back volume from OUP who publish some exceptional jazz titles. (Beat Scene, No. 23)
This important work is "a report on the position of women in jazz from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, an exciting and crucial time of transition." Gourse is an American jazz author with an accessible journalistic style, an eye for detail and a good ear for an anecdote. (Mike Bradley, The Times)
From the Back Cover
Madame Jazz is a fascinating invitation to the inside world of women in jazz. Ranging primarily form the late 1970s to today's vanguard of performance jazz in New York City and on the West Coast, it chronicles a crucial time of transition as women made the leap from novelty acts regarded as second class citizens to sought-out professionals admired and hired for their consummate musicianship.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The book has an introduction (which provides context and deals initially with pianists) and four main sections dealing with string players, horn players, drummers and high profile, influential artists.
Most useful of all is an extensive appendix that lists all the women jazz players the author could reference at the time, with notes on recordings and current activities.
There are some limitations; by her own admission, the author`s study focusses on the New York scene, though she does a pretty good job of including as much of the US overall, including the west coast; there are, however, no references outside of America and Canada, though a few British musicians make it into the appendix.
Some of the musicians highlighted here have passed on, but many more have come to the fore; the stories told in this volume are of determination and steady progress in the recognition of women as jazz players, the breaking down of the barriers imposed by chauvinism, and the continuation of the process; I expect there is much progress still to be made but this volume documents the start of a change that began in the `80s and has continued to the present.
A valuable reference book then – and I do hope the author considers an expanded, new edition sometime soon.